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Original research

What we are and have - to behave: behavioural problems and nutritional status of children from an urban slum in Pune

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Abstract

Slums are high-risk environments for children, which increase the likelihood of development of behavioral problems and poor nutritional status. A definite relationship between behavior and nutrition has been defined in children living in other settings, but evidence from slums is lacking. Thus, the purpose of this study was to understand the nature of the association between behavior and nutrition in children from an urban slum. This study included children of age 6-12 years (n=70). Convenience sampling was used to recruit participants. The parents of the children were interviewed, and details on socio-demography, socioeconomic status (SES), behavior (by Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire), and diet of the child were recorded. Anthropometrics of the children were measured using standard procedures, which were used to categorize them by body mass index (BMI) and mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC). Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and analytical tests. It was observed that children who were underweight or with an undernourished MUAC were less likely to display conduct problems and low prosocial behavior than children of normal weight. Children with an overnourished MUAC were more likely to be hyperactive. Decreased intake of protein and micronutrients corresponded to a lower prosocial behavior score. Intake of potassium was less among children who were hyperactive, while intake of sodium from food was more among children with a raised total difficulties score. All these associations continued to be significant even after controlling for demographic variables. The findings of this study reiterate the need to include nutrition as an important component of studies and interventions targeting the mental health and behavior of vulnerable children in slums.

Imprint

Roopa Miriam George, Devaki Gokhale. 'What We Are and Have - To Behave': Behavioural Problems and Nutritional Status of Children from an Urban Slum in Pune. Cardiometry; Issue 25; December 2022; p.387-394; DOI: 10.18137/cardiometry.2022.25.387394; Available from: https://www.cardiometry.net/issues/no25-december-2022/behavioural-problems-nutritional-status

Keywords

Behavioural Problems,  Nutritional Status,  Children,  Urban Slums
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